School in Waterbury to remain closed Friday due to possible asbestos issue

WATERBURY --  A school in Waterbury was closed Thursday and will remain closed Friday due to a concern of asbestos.

Maura Downes, spokesperson for the State Department of Health, said the Waterbury Health Department decided to close Children’s Community School Wednesday as they inspect the school.

Downes said the health department consulted with town and health officials in Waterbury on the matter.

Principal Katherin Sniffin told FOX61 the school closed Wednesday under orders of the State’s Public Health Department after an unknown concerned citizen made a complaint about asbestos in school.

Sniffin said the school knows about the school building’s history with asbestos and that they regularly maintain it under the direction of the Health Department.  She also said they fully disclose their maintenance efforts to all parents in the yearly newsletter.

Sniffin said both the Waterbury Health Department and the State Health Department did an inspection inside the school Wednesday.

Connecticut’s Department of Public Health released a summary of their inspection report to FOX61:

“The DPH Asbestos Program has received the results from three air samples collected at the Children's Community School in Waterbury, CT on November 29, 2017.  The samples were analyzed earlier today using TEM methods, and there were no asbestos structures detected on any of the samples.

Additionally, we have received reports from two DPH certified Asbestos Project Designers who have inspected the building within the past day.  They independently concur that there are no conditions regarding asbestos containing, or potentially asbestos containing, materials that would preclude reoccupancy of the building.  Based on this information the DPH is aware of no asbestos related issues that would prevent the school from re-opening”

Children’s Community School is not part of the Waterbury School District, it is a nonprofit.  Its building was built back in 1922 and formerly housed the Sacred Heart School.  CCS moved into the building in 1979.

According to the school’s website, they serve roughly 150 low-income students from grades K-5th.

The school is expected to reopen to students Monday.

The school told FOX61 Thursday evening they have sent the following notice out to parents:

Dear Parents, Guardians, Faculty, Staff and CCS Supporters,

Children’s health and well-being has always been at the core of what the Children’s Community School is all about… for nearly 50 years we have fed, clothed and educated the children in this community.

On Wednesday morning, the Health Department of the City of Waterbury and the School Readiness Council came to CCS and notified us that the children must leave the building immediately.  The person making the decision was making the decision based on information from someone that had not been at the school.

We apologize for the inconvenience of sending the children home, but we chose to be proactive and get scientific support for our contention that the school continues to be a safe place to learn and work.

We received the report with the following information this afternoon:

"The DPH Asbestos Program has received the results from three air samples collected at the Children's Community School in Waterbury, CT on November 29, 2017.  The samples were analyzed earlier today using TEM methods, and there were no asbestos structures detected on any of the samples.

Additionally, we have received reports from two DPH certified Asbestos Project Designers who have inspected the building within the past day.  They independently concur that there are no conditions regarding asbestos containing, or potentially asbestos containing, materials  that would preclude reoccupancy of the building.

Based on this information the DPH is aware of no asbestos related issues that would prevent the school from re-opening."